Yesterday, there was an Urgent Question granted to question the Government on its commitment to remaining a member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
This followed a press conference by the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, who stated that she did not believe the UK should remain a member.
I for one believe that it is vital we remain a member of the ECHR. It was an institution established after the end of the Second World War to protect citizens from governments who have no respect for the rights of the individual. This institution is completely separate from the European Union. It was established by British lawyers using the UKs historical approach to human rights and the liberty of the individual.
It guarantees the right to a free and fair trail, the freedom of speech, the freedom to practice your religion, the right to a family life, protections for victims of domestic abuse, protection from discrimination and is the document that underpins the N. Ireland peace treaty (Good Friday Agreement).
I cannot understand why the Government would want to remove this vital piece of law, which we created for Europe in the wake of World War II. The Prime Minister has said in the past that this document makes him “physically sick”. I fail to understand how anyone who wants to protect human rights could feel this way.
Leaving the ECHR would demonstrate to the dictators of the world that the UK was becoming soft on human rights. Giving them a green light to ignore pressure to dramatically improve their record.
Labour will fight to keep us in the ECHR. Within it we have a UK judge presiding over cases against all European nations, allowing us to influence outcomes. Out of it we have no influence and will give despots a shocking signal of our weakness towards human rights.